BBC

Just When You Thought Things Were Looking Up In The East End, Call The Midwife Presents: Thalidomide

In spite of it all, our beloved Trixie is keeping fit.

  • Previously

    Trixie started her recovery in AA. Cynthia became Sister Mary Cynthia. Patsy's dreams were shattered when Delia suffered a terrible injury. Babies were born. Lives for Poplar residents very slowly improved. In the East End, time continued marching on.

  • That Quote
    "The female body is a complex thing. It is our enemy and our friend."
    - Narrator Jenny, followed by a very loud "NO SHIT" from yours truly. -
  • Alert!
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    Up In The Gym Just Working On My Fitness

    Alert Type: Right and Tight Alert.

    Issue: Trixie has become an extreme devotee of Keep Fit, a precursor to Jazzercize.

    Complicating Factors: Possibly replacing one addiction with another, she's as into it as that guy in your office who changed his life with CrossFit, has now become a certified instructor, and will not accept anything less than 200 percent support of her efforts from anyone!

    Resolution: Oh, you'll be keeping fit -- that's the only resolution.

    Spoiler: Using the mighty power of Keep Fit, she teaches some important lessons in female empowerment where they are sorely needed.

  • That Happened
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    Take Your Protein Pills And Put Your Helmet On

    Young Perry Mullucks cruises in to the surgery to get some Milk of Magnesia for his mom, Rhoda, who is feeling the burn of a baby on the way.

  • Fashion Show
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    Get The Look: "Professional, Practical, And Really Rather Pretty"

    The NHS is stepping closer to the swinging '60s with new uniforms for its gals out there doing the hard work of keeping the population booming.

    "THIS IS WHY YOU MUST COME TO KEEP FIT": The fancy belt on the new togs may, as Sister Evangelina warns, slice them in half when bending at the midriff, but Trixie is all for the change: "It's horribly dispiriting slaving away to maintain a waist when no one sees it."

  • That Quote
    "I am content with performing my Canadian Air Force routine every other morning."
    - Nurse Crane, keeping fit in her own way, thank you. -
  • Character Study
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    La la la LAAA la RHODA!

    Name: Rhoda Mullucks.
    Age: Early 30s.
    Occupation: Being the best mom -- possibly my favorite mom on this show, ever. Drinks kind of a lot of Milk of Magnesia, tho....
    Goal: To keep on being a hardworking, dear person and raise smart, strong children.
    Sample Dialogue: "More homework now, less housework later. You've got to get yourself a nice job in an office. Or a bank!"
  • On The Menu
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    What's On The Lenten Menu At Nonnatus House?

    Bread, butter, weak tea, bland everything...Lent is hard on an Anglican nun.

    Poor People Problems: Lest you thought things were truly looking up in Poplar, there are still people living in miserable conditions, waiting to be rehoused. Those people are mad about it, especially the ones whose children are being born with birth defects like missing thumbs and worse.

    Family Planning Soufflé: Nurse Crane has some weird ideas about how having the choice to use diaphragms makes women think they're "entitled to pick and choose" other things in their lives. Um, yeah...how crazy of them.

    Bitter Pills: Poor Sister Monica Joan is suffering the Lenten pain of self denial very acutely in the sweets department. For a nun, she sure seems over all the damn rules about being a nun.

  • Mutual of PTV's Animal Kingdom
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    God Loves A Terrier

    Rhoda doesn't just have to keep house and all that entails and feed, clothe and raise her two children: she also has to de-flea this guy while her husband is out at the pub every night. P.S. she's in LABOR. Even the dog is like "YO, SIR."

  • Symbolism
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    Spring Is In The Air

    The Scene: The Mullucks walk casually to the ward to have their new baby, happy as lambs, congratulating themselves on always being grateful "for what we've got, not what we've not got."

    The Symbol: Spring/Easter, the time of new birth.

    The Meaning: Sometimes what you've not got is hard to hard to be grateful for.

  • Love, Hate & Everything In Between
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    You've Got Me Rockin' And A-Rollin', Barbara Ann

    The nerve of this priest, revving up his hots for this nice young nurse right under the nose of his previous nurse fiancée. SHUT UP FOREVER, TOM. Like, why does Barbara have to "be a sport" about your dumb Easter parade? Your lack of planning does not constitute an emergency on Barbara's part, Tom! She's already GOT a job that she's really good at.

  • Snapshot
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    On The Avenue, Fifth Avenue, The Photographers Will Snap Us

    An enterprising young photog knows a good story when he sees one. Unable to get anyone in the East End to allow him into their homes, he takes up with Trixie and the gang.

  • Alert!
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    Because It Can Never Be Said Enough

    Alert Type: Indignities Of Womanhood Alert.

    Issue: As if it wasn't hard enough to be in labor any damn way, poor Mrs. Mullucks has to do it standing up, bent over with her bum in the air.

    Complicating Factors: She was hoping she could have a nun deliver the baby, "not one of you young 'uns," she tells Patsy. "I bet you've all got lovely bleedin' bums!"

    Resolution: She eventually gets to lie down and start pushing.

    Spoiler: This is probably the last time Rhoda's ever going to care what her butt looks like. The baby is born with serious birth defects of the arms and legs. Patsy and Shelagh die inside while they take care of mother and baby.

  • Character Study
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    The Baby In Question

    Name: Susan Mullucks.
    Age: 1 day.
    Occupation: Sleep. Eat. Poop. Repeat.
    Goal: Just trying to live (even though Dr. Turner is sure her birth defects spell internal problems that will probably stop her living more than a few days). DGAF if anybody likes it.
    Sample Dialogue: "Waaaaaah! zzzzz."
  • Fashion Show
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    Get The Look: Easter Bonnets

    Tom has enlisted Barbara to go around gathering old hats and supplies to deck out Easter bonnets for the whole neighborhood.

    I could write a sonnet: I mean, of course he is lusting after this fine-ass lady in her fancy hat. Who wouldn't? Still: GO AWAY, TOM.

  • Awkward
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    It's A Very Simple Rule

    Situation: See above: Tom's fiery loins in re: Barbara.

    What makes it awkward? Barbara's noticing, maybe, but Trixie is fully aware of the situation between her friend/colleague and her ex-fiancé.

    How is order restored? It isn't, yet. Will Barbara adhere to the rule as old as time, You Never Date a Friend's Ex? Will Tom maybe be a gentleman and not pursue Trixie's friend? Probably not.

  • Health
    From the desk of

    Doctor Turner

    Patient

    The Baby Who Wanted To Live

    Diagnosis

    Well, despite being an object of pity and horror by all assembled personnel, despite the many challenges that will come in her future, this baby wants to eat and be held and, like, live.

    Prescription

    Fulfill basic human needs; if difficulty sleeping, apply twenty-minute state of the union on English endocrinology advances and prevalence of hypothyroidism organized by gender and social class.

    Refill    One million   times

  • Alert!
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    Cruel To Be Kind

    Alert Type: Breakdown Of Polite Society Alert.

    Issue: Sister Mary Cynthia gives away the game when she speaks too kindly to Mrs. Mullucks, calling her by her first name.

    Complicating Factors: Neither of Susan's parents know about her condition yet.

    Resolution: Shelagh takes one for the team, throwing protocol to the wind, and brings cigarettes along to break the news to Mrs. M.

    Spoiler: It's extremely difficult, but it's about to get far worse.

  • Plot Lightning Round
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    Mr. Mullucks finally drags himself out of the Hand & Shears and shows up on the ward with daffodils, all smiles.

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    Hearing a baby crying, he doesn't wait for the midwives' permission, and sneaks in to see his daughter.

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    Discovering the difficult truth, he blindly rages into the recovery room, declaring to poor Rhoda -- who has just received the news herself -- that "that thing" won't be coming back to their house.

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    Rhoda, summoning great strength with the help of the midwives, goes to see the baby. In an instant, her motherly instincts consume her. "She's mine."

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    In a heartbreaking moment, these lovely nurses step into the hall to give Rhoda time with the baby and, the new nun comforting the former nun, share unspoken prayers.

  • Awkward
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    Mother Knows Best

    Situation: Delia is given a clean bill of health at the hospital, and a new nursing job.

    What makes it awkward? Her mother doesn't think she is capable of living on her own. Delia feels compelled to abide by her wishes and return to Wales. Patsy, who has been on her own basically her whole life, is eye-rolling to beat the band. Oooh, Delia. I feel your pain, but it's time to stand up.

    How is order restored? By the grace of God.

  • Snapshot
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    And You'll Find That You're In The Rotogravure!

    Trixie and Co. are shown in the paper, "cavorting in their combinations!" Nuns everywhere are utterly scandalized.

  • That Quote
    -Trixie, celebrating the female form as seen in a Keep Fit leotard -
  • Bad Habits
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    Bread For His Body. Wine For His Blood. Eclairs For, Uh...Whatever, Just Give It To Me!

    As Barbara explains, even Jesus didn't deprive himself on Maundy Thursday. He broke break with the disciples at the Last Supper -- heard of it? And, anyway, in Eastern Orthodox tradition, Lent ends on Thursday. GOOD ENOUGH FOR SISTER MJ.

  • Meeting Time
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    All The Love We Can Find

    Who called the meeting? Sisters Winifred and Mary Cynthia.

    What's it about? Fixing up a box of castoffs for Baby Susan.

    How'd it go? Sister Winifred wonders if there's not "something in the atmosphere" causing the recent rise of recent birth defects. Sweet little Sister MC reveals that she had a brother who was born with hydrocephaly. Her mother would advise that if people stared, she should stare back. But she never got to, because the staring jerks had already looked away to shake their heads in judgment. She resolves that Susan should have her own clothes, from her own family.

  • That Quote
    "First glances are for strangers; shock is for people who pass by, who don't know Susan."
    -Sister Mary Cynthia, quietly crushing Mr. M. with deadly nun guilt-
  • Character Study
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    Slipping Away

    Name: Olive.
    Age: Early 70s.
    Occupation: Good-natured mother of seven; devoted Keep Fit attendee.
    Goal: To live a good life, even when beset with a prolapsed uterus and bladder incontinence, staying positive in the face of further Indignities of Womanhood WHICH ARE LEGION IN NUMBER IT NEVER ENDS AAAUUUUGGH.
    Sample Dialogue: "I tried shoving things...up there. But you've got to draw the line somewhere, don't you?"
  • Fight! Fight! Fight!
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    Trixie vs. Sister Julienne

    When Sister Julienne tries to call her on the carpet about not bending her personal schedule and life for the good of the Order, Trixie raises Hell. First of all, AA meetings are not her "little class," she says; they're what saved her life. Secondly, she reports on sweet Olive's experience not even feeling confident enough to tell a doctor about the problems with her down-belows, and maintains that teaching her Keep Fit class will go a long way in helping the women of Poplar become more confident in and aware of their bodies. Sister Julienne, duly chastened, agrees and apologizes.

    Winner: Trixie and generations of women to come. This is what a feminist looks like!

  • Wrap It Up
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    Olive is referred for surgery, with Trixie's support.

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    Delia calls saying she's going to do what her mother wants and stay in Wales. Patsy is dunzo, but invites Delia for a farewell lunch.

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    Little Susan's family comes to visit. All agree that they've got to be grateful for "what they have got and not what they've not got."

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    Delia and her pushy mom come to have lunch at Nonnatus.

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    Sister J, feeling the Girl Power surging around her, suggests that Delia live there, in the safety of the community. Of course Ol' Moms can't refuse.

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    PLAYED YASELF, LADY! Y'ALL GOT NUNNED.

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    The future may be challenging for Susan Mullucks and thousands of other English babies afflicted with the side effect of that horrible drug, but her family is on her side.

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    Easter comes. As promised.

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